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Counties to Congress: Reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program and fully fund Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT)

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Urge your members of Congress to support SRS for FY 2016 and PILT for FY 2017

As Congress works to finalize the FY 2017 appropriations process, they now have an opportunity to keep their commitment to counties by fully funding PILT and reauthorizing the SRS program.

The Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program provides payments to local governments in 49 states—nearly 1,900 counties, boroughs and parishes—to offset reduced property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt federal lands within their jurisdictions. Without the certainty of full funding for the PILT program, counties across the nation will be unable to provide essential services such as education, law enforcement, search and rescue, road maintenance and public health to our residents and millions of federal lands visitors.

Secure Rural Schools (SRS) payments support public schools, public roads, forest health projects, essential search and rescue and emergency services, and many other county programs. These funds help provide stability for forest counties and school districts affected by reduced revenue due to federal policies that have dramatically curtailed federal timber receipts. For over 100 years, the federal government has shared 25 percent of federal forest revenues with counties to compensate them for federal ownership of forest lands that cannot be taxed at the local level, but these revenue-sharing payments are no longer sufficient to cover the services we must provide. Unless SRS is quickly reauthorized, forest counties across the country will face severe budgetary shortfalls that could impact counties' ability to provide services to our residents.

With many lawmakers currently in their home districts for a two-week recess before returning to complete the FY 2017 appropriations process, now is the time to urge them to support PILT and SRS. To assist your efforts, NACo has developed comprehensive advocacy resources, which you can find below. NACo will continue to engage with Congress and the Trump Administration to stress the importance of these programs and ensure counties have the financial certainty and stability we need to properly serve our residents.

Take Action

  • Click here for a sample letter telling your members of Congress how inaction will impact residents
  • Click here for a sample op-ed and click here for a sample press release to customize and send to your state and local media
  • Click here for sample tweets

Resources

Click here for county-specific PILT profiles.

Click here for county-specific SRS profiles.

Click here for NACo’s PILT advocacy toolkit.

Click here for NACo’s SRS policy brief.

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